Roof issues

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Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 14:49

I am having trouble with my electric roof in that sometimes it takes many attempts to get it to work whilst other times it works first time. This is from either the opening or closing position. Have read the posting on how to replace micro switch which looks a possibility but is there any way of checking what is causing the problem before I start ripping things apart as presumably it could be the brake switch or roof switch?. I started to look at the roof operating switch in the console but looks a bit more complicated than a simple push button switch with contacts.
Also my rear plastic window has gone opaque and although there are various write ups on polishing out scratches,is there any way to get the window clear again which actually works other than replacing the whole hood as unfortunately my window is not the zipped in variety.
Thanks for any help
Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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Adam
Joined: Sat 21 Jul, 2007 19:43
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  Z3 roadster 2.8
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Re: Roof issues

Post by Adam » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 15:35

I cant assist on the roof issues myself but I can for the rear screen.

I used some Autoglym Super Resin Polish and either some good old fashion elbow grease or a machine polisher to clean the rear window. It might take a few treatments inside and out to clear the screen up. You will be quite surprised how well it will come up but obviously it will never be like new (depends on the current condition of the screen)

The same applies for cleaning up your headlight lenses.

Gareth 161
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 16:10

Thanks Adam will get some and try, also will try on headlights as one has gone a bit cloudy.
Had a quote for new roof of just over £700 and not much less for taking roof off to put in new window as stitched in and not zipped.
As roof is getting a bit tired, if I can’t clean it up enough to see through then could be an early Xmas present to myself!
With the roof operation, it’s a pain as either you are in the blazing sun repeatedly trying to get it down or in the pouring rain trying to put it up. Either way one looks a bit of a t . . t and having to resort to manual operation!
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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Gazza
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Re: Roof issues

Post by Gazza » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 16:39

Is the pump working ?

Have you checked the ‘T’ screw on the pump ?
Gazza

"Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you take the wall with you"

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Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 17:24

I think pump is ok and T handle in right position I assume as if I turn it back, then I can operate roof manually but it just seems strange that if I keep trying by pushing the various buttons and roof back it will eventually work electrically although will sometimes stop halfway which is why I thought it must be linked to the electrical side. Is there any way of telling if there is enough fluid in the pump in case that makes any difference?
Thanks Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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colb
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Re: Roof issues

Post by colb » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 17:25

You would get a cheaper replacement hood at Jack Smith trimmers in Swansea, worth a couple of days away from Cornwall and he completes the job in a day whilst you sightsee Swansea. Quite a lot of Z owners have used his services and all have glowing reports on his work. Well worth phoning him for a quote, you also get a choice of colours. Windows are sewn in not zipped. He has a facebook page search for Jack R. Smith Motor Trimmers on facebook. Best phone as he dosn't monitor his pages too often.
01792 461022
158 St Helen's Avenue (66.70 km)
SA1 4NQ Swansea, United Kingdom
Colb
1999 BMW 1.8 Z3
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Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 17:29

Thinking about it, I did move the pump when I changed the aerial grommet so possibly disturbed something although can’t remember if the problem started after that or not?
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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Robert T
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Re: Roof issues

Post by Robert T » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 22:14

You can eliminate the microswitch by disconnecting it and its loom close to where the base of the roof hinges on the left-hand side of the car, and then shorting the same two pins together in the three-way connector on the body. The other pin is for the heated rear-window of the hardtop.

The roof up/down switch and brake light switch have also been known to fail.

Cheers R.

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Gareth 161
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 23:32

Thanks Robert and that might a good first move to eliminate one possible cause although I do hear it click when lifting roof back the first few inches so assumed it was ok. However as it seems worse when been sitting in full sun on that side, possibly it could be the culprit and presumably does not cause any issues if disconnected.
I did take the roof switch out and check for any corrosion but it is a lot more complex than the switches on my old 325i so gave up and eventually managed to refit it into console.
Will see if I can get to the brake pedal switch in case there is any obvious signs of a problem there.
Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

Gareth 161
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Fri 14 Jun, 2019 11:57

Hi Robert
Have traced the wire from the micro switch down to the hinge but do you know how I access the plug as not sure which piece of trim to remove and don’t want to start taking out the wrong bits!
Thanks Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

Gareth 161
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Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Fri 14 Jun, 2019 13:31

I suppose another option is to join the wires together where they join the micro switch as that’s fairly easy to get to?
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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Robert T
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Re: Roof issues

Post by Robert T » Fri 14 Jun, 2019 14:39

There are some pictures in this thread of where the connector is on my car - they were taken with the hardtop installed - with the hardtop off and roof down, it is much easier to get at. The trim piece is part of the hardtop fitting kit, so you likely won't have this.

Also, take a look in the Z3 Knowledgebase under "Hardtop and Softtop" - there are articles on replacing the microswitch itself, replacing the brake light switch and on repairing the microswitch loom.

You could short the pins on the microswitch, or simply remove it and depress it firmly to rule that out. The wiring loom for it is in a sheath, so it not easy to see broken wires. And you can test the brake light switch by checking the brake lights - if they flicker, you have a dodgy switch!

Cheers R.
Arctic Silver '99 Z3 1.9 & Black '59 Frogeye 1275cc
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LaRy
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Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Mon 24 Jun, 2019 16:06

The Micro switch problem. It is rather common that micro switch is getting broken. Mine is replaced twice, and it was acting just as you describe. You can by pass it by connecting the wires at the micro switch, but remember to lift the roof in the correct way, while testing.
The switch is small and a little bit special, the price for an original one is in Europe approximately 70 USD. But to find a cheaper one will take long time to make it fit. It is not worth the savings.
When you get a new original one, it is including the wires. I changed those, but it is a hell of a job, to get it through everywhere from the switch to the connector, even through the tubes for the roof frame.
The first changed was made by a official BMW repair shop. I noticed, when changing, that they made it in a lazy way, and I would do the same next time. The wire was cut just 2 inches from the micro switch, and the old wires were soldered to the new ones and insulated.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Mon 24 Jun, 2019 16:13

Thanks and I am beginning to think it is the micro switch as plays up more when been sitting in sun and that would fit in with other descriptions.
Sounds a good idea to join wires near switch as didn’t fancy tracing wires back.
Perhaps before I buy a new one, will try shorting wires together to confirm and will buy an original as although the write up on how to alter the marlins one was very good , it does look a bit complicated!
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

deni2s
Joined: Mon 25 Mar, 2013 22:02
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Re: Roof issues

Post by deni2s » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 14:25

I might offer switch repair kit after a month or so. Might cost around 20 pounds.

Gareth 161
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 16:27

Count me in please for one as long as it's fairly easy to fit!
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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lebigmec
Joined: Sun 17 Oct, 2010 14:04
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  Z3 roadster 1.9i
Location: Downham Market, Norfolk.

Re: Roof issues

Post by lebigmec » Fri 26 Jul, 2019 14:05

I would be Interested in this too, as mine plays up occasionally also.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 10 Oct, 2019 15:53

Just come back from 2 weeks in the sun and roof playing up more than ever. Am assuming it’s electrical as apparently it has rained here a bit over the last few weeks which would not help electrical connections.
I can hear the micro switch clicking but when it does actually move a bit it then stops part way. Could this still be the micro switch or is it something else that would be the culprit once it had actually started to open as not sure if the micro switch is just to get it stareted or if it needs to work the whole time roof is moving?
Have checked the brake lights and they are working fine and as it is happening both up and down I presume the switch in the console is ok?
Does anyone know which fuse operates the roof as possibly I suppose could be a bad contact in fuse Box?
Thanks for any advice as getting a bit frustrated with it!
Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

LaRy
Joined: Mon 12 Nov, 2018 17:47
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  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Thu 10 Oct, 2019 16:53

A micro switch can be broken, even if it is clicking, due to oxide on the contact surfaces.
Most simple way to make a realistic test, is to connect a voltage meter in parallell over the switch. When not driving the roof, you will read a voltage drop over the switch when the brake pedal is pressed. When activating the switch (opening/closing the top), voltage drop over the switch must be ZERO, continuously! Nothing else "is taking over" after the start.
Facts:
Actually, the micro switch is connected to ground, output is connected by wire to the selector for open or close in the dashboard. This selector decide if the opening or the closing relay should be activated by connection to ground. The control of the relays are activated by ground side control.

The live side: The power supply is coming from fuse F46 in my car from 1998. That fuse is feeding the brake light when the brake light is activated. But exactly the same brake light switch and circuit is also supplying the upper side of the opening and closing relay coils.

The power to the pump motor is coming from fuse F1. That power is connected continuously to the contacts of the opening and closing relays. When one or the other relay is activated, the pump motor is running. The motor voltage polarity is reversed by the closing relay.

PS Still my guess is that you have a micro switch problem.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Thu 10 Oct, 2019 18:32

Thanks for the comprehensive reply but I think you lost me after the first couple of lines!
However will check the fuses just to check but I am thinking that you might be right re the micro switch as seems to be a common fault.
Have just seen the article where a maplins micro switch has been adapted so will look on eBay for a cheap switch and have a play.
Will update in due course
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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Robert T
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Re: Roof issues

Post by Robert T » Thu 10 Oct, 2019 18:50

From what you have said it is either the microswitch or the cable leading up to the microswitch. The effect of either is pretty much the same in that it breaks the circuit, stopping the pump motor. Best way make sure that is the problem is to bypass them both at the connector by the left-hand seatbelt turret.

Cheers R.

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LaRy
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Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Fri 11 Oct, 2019 15:10

Sorry Garreth, you asked:

"Could this still be the micro switch or is it something else that would be the culprit once it had actually started to open as not sure if the micro switch is just to get it started or if it needs to work the whole time roof is moving?"

So I wrote a full technical description of the function.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Fri 11 Oct, 2019 17:06

That’s no problem as it was a good full response but it’s been many years since I understood technical things like that!
In simpler terms, could it be the micro switch at fault if the roof stops halfway up or down or does it just get it moving initially?
If it ever stops raining I will try and get to the plug behind the passenger seat and see if I can bypass the switch (hopefully without causing any shorts!)
Thanks again, Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

LaRy
Joined: Mon 12 Nov, 2018 17:47
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  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Fri 11 Oct, 2019 21:12

Simple answer, yes, it can be the micro switch. Even most possible. In my car, it is changed twice.
As you say, make a jumper over the switch. But remember that the front of the soft top must be lifted before the test, just as you must do normally before the test drive.
Start with this test. If needed, i will support you with more tests. As Robert T says; it can also be the wire to the micro switch.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Fri 11 Oct, 2019 22:46

Thanks but unfortunately looking at the forecast, it might be a few days before it is dry enough to venture out!! However will update position when possible
Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Sat 12 Oct, 2019 13:33

Managed to pop out between showers and checked the 30 amp fuse1 which seems ok(of course I managed to drop it into engine bay and had fun retrieving it!).
Cut out the micro switch and temporarily joined wires together but still no joy.
For some reason no movement at all now so something has changed from the partial infrequent movement.
I did remove pump yesterday and checked connections there which all seemed ok but possibly I have done something to make it worse?.
Might have to get to the wiring connector but still not sure where to actually start ripping things apart.
Old age and bad eyesight are not a good thing!
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Sat 12 Oct, 2019 19:26

Tried it again and had the occasional pump cutting in but only for a few brief moments.
Does the motor in the pump ever fail and is there a test for the motor?
I hate car electrics!
Just managed to sort the window winder motor on the forester as common fault is water getting into motor and rusting the innards. Luckily with a struggle motor can be removed and taken apart to clean up which keeps it going for a few years as new ones are rather pricey!
Wondering if could be a similar problem with z3 or would a good car electrician be able to find the fault?
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

LaRy
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  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Sun 13 Oct, 2019 08:24

The pump motor can get broken, but seldom like working / not working.
In your case, I would test drive the soft top, and let someone hold a finger on the top of the opening / closing relays. It is very interesting to know of the relay is clicking in the same second as the pump motor stops. You can feel the click by a finger on the top of the relay.
An electrician can rather easily figure out what is wrong by using a multimeter in different spots.
For instance, if you are worried about the pump motor condition, a voltage test simultaneously of the motor supply, measured at the same time would give a clear answer. If voltage drops in the same second as the motor stops, no motor problem...….

I would say that without using a multimeter, it will be to much guessing. An experience car electrician should find a fault in such an easy circuit within 30 minutes. After that, the repair will take some time.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Sun 13 Oct, 2019 13:34

Success !!!
Managed to get to connector and short out the 2 pins with the black wires and all now working.
Obviously the wire has broken somewhere but as braided, very difficult to see where.
Micro switch is ok but can’t really be re used as wires are sealed inside so will pick up a new switch and adapt as I’ve seen in a previous thread.
Presumably I will need some form of similar braided wire as normal type wire wouldn’t last long.
Could just not replace micro switch and take care when opening but probably best to do it properly.
Main thing is after all this time, fault has been identified and roof works
Thanks for the helpful advice and the pictures which guided me in the solving of this very annoying long-standing issue. I think broken wires are the worse type of thing as work sometimes for a long period and then for no obvious reason play up.
Gareth
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

LaRy
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  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Sun 13 Oct, 2019 15:22

Good that you have located the fault!!!!
If you buy an original microswitch from BMW, the cable is included, at least in the one I bought a couple of years ago.
It is not easy to change, as the cable sometimes are inside the soft top frame, inside a couple of tubes. Suggestion, when removing the old broken wire, connect a wire, like a slim strong rope. Use this to drag the new cable trough all narrow passes.

LaRy
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  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Roof issues

Post by LaRy » Sun 13 Oct, 2019 15:32

You will get a sparepart like this:
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-bmw ... 348407250/

All you need. If I remember correct, it is very tricky and lack of space to connect it in the lower left corner of the soft top. In the same area as the piston for the opening / closing is connected. I suggest a "dirty" solution to use a small screw terminal block.

Gareth 161
Joined: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 23:41
Posts: 126

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Cornwall

Re: Roof issues

Post by Gareth 161 » Sun 13 Oct, 2019 16:55

Thanks and luckily I did pull a boot lace through when I pulled the old wire out which for me is unusual as I normally don’t think far enough ahead.
Will see how much bmw part is or will make up my own switch.
Pulled the outer casing off the old wire and it was almost worn through in several areas in a 2 inch part and one complete break which looking at the wire ends was fairly old so must have just been touching each other occasionally.
I suppose considering nearly 20 years old and up and down numerous times, can’t really complain,
All I need now is a dry day!
2001 3.0 Z3, 2008 Subaru Forester Xten

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